|Me and my beautiful nieces, June 2010|
During my senior year of high school, I moved in with a family who I had become very close to, and I was fortunate to be supported by everyone – immediate family members and extended. They took me in as one of their own on Nov. 2, 2004, and I have loved them as family ever since. It was also fortunate that my new “dad” was a pediatrician and my new “mom” was a pediatric nurse (both have recently retired), so I had more access to accurate health information than other people my age. Most of the time, I was more comfortable asking sensitive questions to those adults who were not in my biological family.
My challenge to you is this: even if you aren’t a parent, become a trusted, “askable” adult, whether it’s to a sibling, a niece or nephew, a member of your Girl Scout troop or on the football team you coach. Our young people need to have access to and be comfortable with having open, honest conversations with adults who are knowledgeable and know accurate information about sex and contraception. Educate yourself on these issues and make yourself available as a good resource for young people in your life. I hope that when my nieces are old enough, they will approach me for advice about sensitive topics, and I will be prepared to guide them and support them in making responsible decisions.
For resources on how to talk to young people about love, sex, and relationships, click here.